Since the crumple of the economy in many countries across the world in 2008, businesses are struggling. Although the main economic pain may have past, many businesses are still finding slender profit margins.
How can you improve your business? The first is tolook at your costs but of course the main object is to sell more and more efficiently. However, you may feel that in order to do that you need to attract more people and, if the money isn’t there for any more marketing ploys, online (your website or social media platforms) or offline (leaflets, roller banners, posters and more), how on earth can your attract more people in store?
It is time to get focussed
Often, when times are tough, businesses and staff can lose focus. The small jobs become major headaches; the ability to put an advert in the local press seems never to happen… and so the tumble weed keeps rolling across the floor.
The time has come to peel away these stifling layers and gain back your focus. And here are 9 simple, yet effective ways of attracting more customers to your store…
1. Objective assessment
This is tough. It is your business. From the initial idea to what you have today, you have invested more than blood, sweat and tears; it has been long nights and longer days. You are so close to it, you are almost one and same thing.
But, you need to take a step back and look objectively at every strand of your store based business and work out what is working, and what is not. You can keep this as simple as ‘5 things that are working, and 5 things that are not’.
Or, you can be more in-depth and use something like a SWOT analysis that looks at factors in your business or store, as well as those factors on the outside that are affecting business. This helps you look at how or why competitors are affecting you, along with what is happening internally… and starts the process of change.
2. Action with purpose
From this objective assessment, you should find that you have a list of things that are not working; take a moment or two to prioritise these – which ones are affecting your business most? Which ones, once eliminated or changed, will have the biggest or quickest impact?
It can be anything from having a massive clearance sale, or re-arranging your whole store. But, once you have started to take action with purpose, you will start to get a feel good factor…
3. Spread the ‘feel good factor’
And these feel good factor has probably been missing in recent week, months or even years with the feeling of opening the store, hoping for people, watching the budget…
Connect with your employees (if you have any), and start spreading this feel good factor… and hen start by re-connecting with the customer.
4. Gather and garner
This is about taking some steps to getting more customers in the store. If you have an email list, then sign up to some free online software that allows you to create and mail newsletter etc.
But, do it with a difference. Take your focus off selling.
Yes, you read that right. Create an event instead.
Come and see us at xxx store this Saturday! Open from 9 till 4, we not only have a great range of half price dresses and skirts, but we have free tea and coffee. Cakes and scones are also on sale, raising money for xx Charity. We would love to see you… and bring a friend too!
You get the idea. Rather than sell, sell, sell, use this tactic instead: invite, like, sell.
Maybe now is the time to refresh – or even start to –training of how to sell to people. You can buy in people to do this for you or, if this is too much on a budget outlay there are options online too, giving you some great ideas.
Simply changing the way we speak and what we say, from one word to another can make all the difference.
6. Social media – get on it!
Everything from Facebook to Twitter, to Instagram and Pinterest could all be great vehicles for your business to reach a wider audience. If you think your customers are not on these platforms, then you may need to a re-think as the majority of people, across all age and demographic spectrums are using some kind of social media platform.
There is loads on online help about how and what your business can/should be posting (and it is not all sales driven…)
7. Stop comparing yourself
Many store owners have a habit of comparing their trading levels and conditions with other stores; so popping next door and asking how the health food shop is doing may not be comparing like with like. In other words, it is a fruitless exercise. Keep your mind and focus on your business.
8. Stop blaming conditions
Many store owners have a habit of blaming trading conditions/the economy/the weather etc. Some of these are external factors that you cannot change but you can, in some instances, piggy back on to them. For example, if it has done nothing but rain why not slash the price of your umbrellas or, suggest something in your shop could put the warmth back into a cold day…
9. Revitalise YOU
It is tough when things are not quite going to way you want them too. Revitalise your thinking and stay positive!